Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mend the fence. Build an ark.

Everyone has an explanation as to why there are fractures in evangelicalism. Everyone has their angle. I do. One blogger suggests it's about:
"...boundary maintenance by conservative evangelicals who appear to have captured UCCF at the moment and are paranoid enough to feel threatened by those whose commitment to the gospel and scripture has some differences with their own..." Andii Bowsher
Sitting the room, having breakfast with those concerned I'm not sure it shakes down that way. Sure, UCCF is a conservative evangelical movement - in that we're committed to contending (conserving) for the gospel (evangel). Looking at our history - tracked back to the lesser incident in 1919 (which was not over the truth of penal substitution, only it's centrality), it's certainly not about a movement being ' the moment' - we've not moved. The only thing that has changed is that we've become a bit better at communicating who we are clearly. That's not normally a bad thing. Now, perhaps one could say it's boundary maintenance to want God's people to be rooted in what God has said? perhaps it could be said that it's boundary maintenance to not want lies to be spread about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? If so, I'm very happy to be a fence-mender. Looking stupid to many in the church.

I also want to be an ark-builder. A man like Noah. Standing around in the middle of a desert building a boat. A really big boat. Not my boat - God's boat. The Jesus boat. The one where rebels like me can flee God's wrath and get a taste of everlasting communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Spending our days glimpsing the glory of God in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified. He who was crucified to bear the punishment I deserved. Crucified so I could die to sin. Crucified so I could be brought to God. Me, Jesus and all God's people happy in an ark. Looking stupid to the watching world. So be it.

When ships pass in the dark, or bloggers post their points for debate it's easy to talk past each other. It's almost impossible to have constructive conversation because nothing stays on topic for long and the format requires us all to speak up - the day bloggers tame our tongues the blogosphere is finished. Can't see that happening anytime soon. My intended philosophy, easily buried by my selfishness, is to critique myself more critically than I critique others - and to presume that others have the best possible motives. That's probably a naive approach, but we all hold our beliefs because we think we're right (otherwise we'd have changed them). I don't feel particularly threatened by those who differ from me - they keep the debate alive. As for paranoia, it seems unlikely. Confident. Careful. Just a family on a mission, with a passion for the trustworthy message about Jesus Christ and him crucified. Passionate for his fame. Passionate for his people.

Since you asked, UCCF is the mission agency I serve within. These are just my ramblings.